BOTH chambers of Congress on Tuesday agreed to postpone the Sangguniang Kabataan and village elections from October 2016 to the fourth week of October in 2017.
They agreed on the postponement even as opposition lawmakers on Tuesday bucked the proposals to abolish the Sangguniang Kabataan and the barangay councils because these were allegedly useless.
Youth leaders said the postponement of the SK elections would lead to the SK’s abolition, sending the dangerous message that youth participation in the village was optional.
Emerging from an all-party caucus Tuesday, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, and House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas and Rep. Sherwin Tugna, head of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms, said the House agreed to adopt the Senate resolution seeking to postpone the village polls.
But they said the House would still have to pass a bill to effect the postponement.
Senator Sonny Angara on Tuesday sponsored the bill seeking a one-year postponement of the village and SK elections to give more time for the full implementation of the recently enacted SK Reform Act or Republic Act 10742.
“We clearly hear the voices of those who are against the proposal. We understand the sentiments of the youth who had not voted [in the SK elections] for three years, said Angara, chairman of the Senate committee on local government.
“But it is clear to us that in some important aspects, the government is not yet ready to implement RA 10742,” Angara said in his sponsorship speech for Senate Bill 1112.
Reps. Edcel Lagman, Teddy Brawner Baguilat Jr. and Emannuel Billones said they see no reason to abolish the SK and village councilors following the enactment of the SK Reform Act, which is supposed to strengthen the youth council and the barangay system.
At the same time, the three lawmakers agreed to postpone the SK and village elections provided the parameters for the postponement were clearly defined under either a bill or a joint resolution.
Youth leaders said the postponement of the SK elections would gradually abolish the youth institution.
“Another postponement of the SK polls sends a dangerous message that youth participation is optional,” said Ellah Delerio from the SK Reform Coalition.
“We hope our legislators do not mean to disenfranchise the youth once again and instead heed our call not to delay the SK elections,”